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INSIDER MONDAY TEAM REPORT

By Dan Powell
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
September 25th, 2006
Jets Head Coach Eric Mangini led his team to victory in Buffalo despite being statistically shellacked. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Jets Head Coach Eric Mangini led his team to victory in Buffalo despite being statistically shellacked. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
A day after beating the Buffalo Bills 28-20 in Buffalo, head coach Eric Mangini and his New York Jets returned to Hofstra to look back on how they managed a win when they were seemingly outplayed in almost every facet of the game.

One thing that certainly helped was the emergence of second-year safety Kerry Rhodes, who has burst on to the scene this season with an interception and three sacks that have all resulted in fumbles, including two on Sunday.

“Kerry does a good job of understanding the technique of the guy that is going to be blocking him,” Mangini said. “He’s done a great job. Any time you create a turnover it’s usually going to cause a momentum change.”

Consistency from major players in the passing game was also key in securing the victory. Quarterback Chad Pennington, who is now fourth in the league with a 103.4 QB rating, took care of the ball, hitting on 19 of 29 passes for 183 yards, one touchdown, and most importantly, no interceptions. Mangini felt a big part of Pennington’s taking care of the ball was the blockers taking care of Pennington.

“I was very pleased with the pass protection, not only the offensive line but the fullbacks and the tight ends as well,” Mangini said. “That whole group had a good day.”

Pennington’s favorite target, wide receiver Laveranues Coles, had another strong performance on Sunday. Although Coles only had 78 yards on the day, he did manage to haul in 10 catches, making him tops in the NFL with 24 receptions on the young season.

Unfortunately for the Jets, the running game remained consistent as well; consistently bad. Gang Green is yet to get any sort of ground attack going as they had just 74 yards on 24 carries as a unit against Buffalo. Scarier still, the anemic 3.1 yards per carry average was the team’s best effort of the season. For the season, the Jets 2.6 yard per carry average ranks them 31st in the NFL, ahead of only the 0-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Still the Jets will not be abandoning their running back by committee gameplan anytime soon. Mangini said that the packages and looks the Jets use in the ground attack will remain specific to the opponent and the running backs continue to buy into the system.

“I know it can work,” second-year back Cedric Houston said. “I’ve seen it work when I was in college (at Tennessee). We had three different backs and we made it work.”

INSIDER TIDBITS

-The Jets were outplayed by the Bills according to virtually every statistical category. Quarterback J.P. Losman threw for 328 yards, Willis McGahee rushed for 150 yards on 26 carries, and wide receivers Roscoe Parrish and Lee Evans both had over 100 receiving yards, all better than the Jets in those respective areas. The Bills became the first team in NFL history with a 300 yard passer and a 150 yard rusher to lose a home game. The glaring statistic seems to be the Bills three turnovers to the Jets none. The Jets are tied for second in the league with a +5 giveaway to takeaway ratio.

-The Jets are now tied with the Patriots for first place in the AFC East. Mangini did not care to comment on that situation other than to say he likes it “better than the alternative.” Asked how he thinks his former mentor turned nemesis Bill Belichick feels about being tied with Mangini and the Jets, the coach only said, “You’d have to ask Bill about that.”

-Mangini named his players of the week on Monday. The practice player of the week was rookie linebacker Anthony Schlegel, cornerback Drew Coleman was the special teams player of the week, and not surprisingly Kerry Rhodes got the honor on defense. Mangini threw a bit of a curveball in naming the offensive player of the week as the honors went to G Brandon Moore. Shelegel was not active during yesterday's game.

“I thought he was very consistent in his run blocking as well as his pass protection and he also played very tough,” Mangini said of the fourth-year lineman. He went on to say that he felt rookie D’Brickashaw Ferguson played well also.

-Rookie running back Leon Washington, who Mangini noted has improved a great deal since arriving in May, has been working a good deal with Curtis Martin. Washington said the advice Martin has given him has helped ease the transition to the NFL.

“He’s been very, very valuable,” Washington said of the veteran. “He’s helped me establish my role on this team and he’s helped me learn how to read defenses in the National Football League.”

The Jets will return to Hempstead on Wednesday to begin practicing for their upcoming game with the Indianapolis Colts. The team will also release its official injury report on Wednesday.

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